University suspends Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity recognition for two years

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The University announced today (April 20) that it has suspended Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity's recognition on the University Park campus for no less than a two-year period following multiple violations by the fraternity of Penn State’s restrictions on alcohol use during its Parents Weekend on April 1.

Sigma Alpha Mu’s violations include excessive drinking, involving hard liquor, with no third-party server; open access to alcohol with no monitoring; and permitting guests other than fraternity members, their parents and family to attend. The violations were first detailed in an “Open Letter to Penn State’s Greek Community” from Penn State President Eric Barron on April 10.

The University granted an exception to its moratorium on Greek-life socials involving alcohol, allowing fraternities and sororities to hold Parents Weekend activities, with express limitations on size of the gatherings, type of alcohol served, and length of time a Parents Weekend social could be held. In addition, the criteria for a Parents Weekend event mandated a third-party licensed vendor to serve alcohol to individuals of legal age, and no additional groups or people beyond those hosting the event and their families could attend.

“Sigma Alpha Mu knowingly violated every rule that was imposed,” said Damon Sims, Penn State vice president for Student Affairs. “This behavior is not consistent with our University values and is in direct opposition to the changes required if we are to have a healthy, successful and sustainable Greek-letter system at Penn State.”

Sims and others in Penn State Student Affairs have met with Sigma Alpha Mu leadership and its adviser to discuss the issues. The fraternity president acknowledged the violations of the new rules and expectations. In addition, a review of the circumstances also has involved a conversation with the fraternity’s national leadership.

“In a gesture of trust, we believed that Parents Weekend would be the appropriate way to pilot new regulations and gain cooperation from the Greek-letter community,” Sims said. “Unfortunately, this fraternity egregiously took advantage of its trial opportunity, despite our clear expectations and the well-publicized consequences for violations.

“We remain hopeful that our Greek-letter community, including undergraduate members, their parents and alumni, understand the University’s wholehearted commitment to these new expectations, and our determination to help our fraternities and sororities avoid outcomes that threaten their continued success. Only by earnestly working together will we achieve the results the entire Penn State community should expect.”

Last Updated April 20, 2017